Group health insurance is a hot topic these days, and of concern for both business owners and employees. But what exactly is group health insurance? Is it affordable? Should you offer it? Must you offer it? These are just a few of the questions you might be asking as you evaluate the employee benefits you want to provide.

If you want to review your options and compare group medical insurance costs, an independent agent in the Trusted Choice® network can help. One of these local agents can do the comparison shopping for you, and help you evaluate health insurance plans, options and pricing. These agents work with multiple insurance providers and can help you get all of the commercial coverage you need, all under one roof. Contact a local agent for assistance today.

Why Group Health Insurance Is Important

Now more than ever, group health insurance is a valuable benefit often used to attract and retain high-performing employees. Consider these facts:

  • 60% of those insured in the U.S. receive healthcare coverage through an employee-sponsored plan.
  • The high cost of healthcare makes employer sponsored group health plans an attractive employee benefit.
  • Employees state that health insurance is the most important benefit they receive from employers.

Finding Health Insurance for Companies Like Yours

Doing a full assessment of all the options is often the most difficult part of purchasing group health insurance. Every business is unique, which means your company medical insurance plan will be unique as well. If you have a large company, you might choose to provide a more comprehensive business health insurance offering, including an HMO plan and a PPO plan. If you are a small employer, however, you might decide to offer just one health insurance plan that matches your needs and budget.

If you wondering whether an HMO plan or a PPO plan is better, the fact is that they both have merit. Here is a brief overview of the differences:

  • HMO (health maintenance organization) plans: These are managed care plans that provide services through clinics and hospitals that are in contract with the HMO organization. If you have an HMO plan and your employees choose to enroll in the plan, they must only see doctors within the network. HMOs tend to have many more rules and restrictions, but also tend to be cheaper.
  • PPO (preferred provider organization) plans: These plans offer more choice. Enrolled employees can see any doctor in the PPO network at a discounted rate, or go outside of the network for care services at a higher rate. PPOs have much greater flexibility, and are typically a more popular choice. However, they do cost more, both for the employer and the employee.

An independent agent can help you to fully assess the options and choose the best plan for your business.

Are Businesses Required to Provide Employee Health Coverage?

Offering health insurance is not a requirement, even under the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA). However, there are changes in the healthcare system that do affect employers. If your business has more than 50 employees, you may be required to make an "Employer Shared Responsibility Payment" if you do not offer an affordable healthcare plan that meets minimum value requirements.

Your healthcare plan will be considered "affordable" if the cost to the employee is less than 9.5 percent of the employee's income. The minimum value requirement is for your healthcare plan to cover at least 60 percent of the total cost of covered services.

An independent agent who specializes in commercial insurance and benefits plans can help you learn about the new regulations and ensure that you are in compliance.

Is Business Health Insurance Affordable?

In addition to deciding which type of coverage is best for your business, evaluating group medical insurance costs can also prove to be a challenge. Although employers are not required to offer coverage, many do provide at least one plan choice, and pay a portion of the premium, typically around 75 percent. The employee premium you pay as a business owner if tax deductible.

Some businesses save costs by offering the health insurance plan to certain employee classes, such as full-time employees. This is an option, providing you do not discriminate against any specific individuals. For example, you can choose to offer a health plan only to full time employees or to staff members who have been with your company for a certain period of time. Be sure to review all regulations regarding employee health plans, particularly in light of the Affordable Care Act legistion.

Because offering a group health insurance plan helps to attract and keep quality employees, most businesses find it advantageous to provide a group healthcare plan as a part of their employee benefits package. If you decide it is right for you, an independent agent can compare costs for you from several insurance companies to find the most affordable plan.

Business Health Insurance Quotes Tailored to Your Business

Group health insurance rates are regulated by law, which is intended to limit annual rate hikes. Still, you’ll notice a variation in the business health insurance quotes you compare. While group insurance plans include coverage for those employees with pre-existing conditions, the amount and types of claims submitted under your plan can affect your annual premium.

Navigating group health insurance can be a challenge, particularly with healthcare changes under way. There are some key benefits to working with an independent agent in your search for the best health insurance solution:

  1. Independent agents can save you time and money by comparing multiple quotes and options for you from the top companies.
  2. Since they work with multiple carriers, they can address every aspect of your commercial insurance needs, all under one roof.
  3. And independent agent can customize a plan that matches your specific business needs and budget.

If you’d like customized coverage tailored to your business, consider using an independent member agent in the Trusted Choice network. You’ll feel more confident knowing your agent is finding you the best policy available at the best price—and you’ll also have peace of mind knowing you’re offering your employees affordable, quality health insurance. So if you’re looking for that competitive edge for your business, contact an agent today.